The report was undertaken as part of a PhD research, funded by the CRC for Low Carbon Living Ltd. supported by the Cooperative Research Centres program, an Australian Government initiative and a research student scholarship granted from the Australian Building Codes Board.
Heatwaves are Australia’s most deadly natural hazard and the principle driver of peak electricity demand in South Australia. The disproportionately high peak demand increases electricity prices, causes occasional blackouts and exacerbates energy poverty, all of which limit the use of air-conditioning.
In Australia, heatwaves are the deadliest natural hazard and a major driver of peak electricity demand. The disproportionately high peak demand increases electricity prices, causes occasional blackouts and exacerbates energy poverty, all of which limit one’s ability to use air conditioning. Meanwhile, increased energy efficiency of dwellings may decrease their heat stress resistance.
The Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme, commonly known as NatHERS, which is applied through software tools such as AccuRate Sustainability, has become the predominant pathway for complying with energy efficiency requirements within the National Construction Code of Australia. Current energy efficiency regulations have remained unchanged for a decade and there is an intention to increase these requirements, through mandating a higher minimum star rating for buildings.
Current regulatory pathways to compliance in energy efficiency for Australian housing are via provisions in the National Construction Code (NCC). This paper first identifies performance evaluation criteria set out in the code presented as a comparative analysis across the different methods of achieving compliance. Jurisdictional and concessional variations are discussed and thereafter an examination of the effect of specific design and location factors that impact the commonly used deemed to satisfy route to compliance.
Heatwaves have a mounted interest in the last decade due to their negative impacts on infrastructure, the ecosystem and public health. Population exposure to heat stress is substantially influenced by the resilience of the built environment as people spend the majority of their time indoors. Retrofitting the existing building stock could profoundly improve heatwave resilience, however, the current knowledge of the population’s heatwave-resilient retrofitting willingness is limited.
To combat increasing electricity prices due to the high operating costs of conventional reverse cycle air-airheat pumps (RC-AA-HP), they can be powered by standalone PV systems as a radical demand side energy management solution. However, the heavy power consumption of their compressors necessitates very large and expensive standalone hotovoltaic (PV) systems. Alternatively, reversible air-water heat pumps (RCAW-HP) are integrated with thermal storage units, hence with downsized capacity RC-AW-HP but large thermal storage, the building thermal load can be handled equally.
The rising penetration of vapor compression air conditioning systems in Australian dwellings has raised the peak power demand. Consequently, the electrical infrastructure requires significant, costly upgrades that is invariably passed on to all end-users. Electricity network charges account for about half the cost of an average household electricity bill, causing electricity prices to reach some of the highest levels in the developed world.
The increased penetration of residential air-conditioners (AC); specifically vapor compression types, is regarded as one of the foremost causes of a dramatic rise in critical peak electricity demands requiring corresponding upgrades of electricity infrastructures. These upgrades requires heavy investments, consequently, driving up electricity prices. Solar air-conditioning systems can reduce this trend, but current vapor-compression air-conditioners (VCACs) needs very large investments in both photovoltaic system and battery storage.